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ARCHIVE: Routes (Flights) and Hubs (Speculation, News and Discussion)

ARCHIVE: Routes (Flights) and Hubs (Speculation, News and Discussion)

 

Old Dec 10, 13, 1:18 pm
  #46  
 
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What about EU destinations? Do you think we'll lose any from this? I go to FRA and CDG regularly enough that I'm wondering what my connection route from PIT will be.
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Old Dec 10, 13, 1:30 pm
  #47  
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CLT has flights to Rome, Paris, Frankfurt, and London. Of those, I could see Frankfurt get dropped depending on how much feed was connecting to LHR, and a connection to Air Berlin (DUS? or TXL) or Iberia (MAD) start up.
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Old Dec 10, 13, 1:35 pm
  #48  
 
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Originally Posted by ElmhurstNick View Post
I'm curious about what DCA will end up looking like in the post-merger world. They'll have to give up some frequencies as part of the settlement, but DCA makes a pretty interesting focus city. There's a lot of CR2 nonsense, but there is also a fair amount of E170/175 traffic (Hartford, Manchester, Jacksonville, Nashville, Greensboro, and Minneapolis from just a quick scan).

My immediate selfish hope is that the CR7s on ORD-DCA get replaced by 175s.
One complication with DCA is that in addition to giving up slots, AA agreed not to use any of their "commuter" slots (which are for planes of <76 seats) for what DOT defines as large airports. Excluding airports in metro DC and beyond the DCA perimeter, those airports are:

ATL, ORD, DFW, JFK, CLT, IAH, MIA, MCO, EWR, MSP, DTW, PHL, BOS, LGA, FLL, MDW, TPA

What that means is that AA can't use anything smaller than a CR9 or E175 to fly from DCA to those cities. So ORD will definitely upsize to at least an E175; it has to.

On the US side, that seems to affect service to PHL (which is mostly CRJ or DH8 due to lack of real demand), DTW, and a single frequency to CLT will need to upgauge or be cut. For AA, it affects all their flights to JFK and a handful of ORD flights.
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Old Dec 10, 13, 1:46 pm
  #49  
 
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Originally Posted by nall View Post
I absolutely agree that CLT is not going anywhere. CLT, MIA, and DFW are extremely valuable fortress hubs.

That said, I disagree about its infrastructure. I book a lot of people into and out of the southeast, typically connecting between regional and mainline, and for that, CLT is by far the LEAST favorite airport. At least with big airports like DFW, you have a tram that can rapidly get you from one side of the airport to the other.
Walking from the end of CLT E to mainline on B really isn't that bad at all. 10 minutes, 15 if you're not walking too fast or aren't using the moving walkways.

If you want to talk about a bad connection from regional to mainline, PHL is my least favorite of the US hubs. There's no airside walk from F to anywhere else, and all CRJs land in F. My only "trick" here has been to make sure I'm on an ERJ of some sort so that I land in B/C. There's a shuttle bus, but who wants to ride that?

Anyway, having talked with a lot of people in the industry (including a former exec, although this was before the DCA divertisure announcements), here are my thoughts on hubs.

Safe:

DFW/CLT/MIA - These hubs are absolutely safe, and will likely see growth. They may lose some routes to other hubs as rationalization happens, but they'll remain the crown jewels.

ORD - This is the only real midwest hub, and again, may lose some routes, but will remain a hub.

LAX - Unfortunately, this is a hard one to grow, but it's such a valuable premium market and so much INTL connecting traffic is done here. All those partners will not move to PHX, so this operation will remain.

Goodbye:

PHX - Sandwiched between DFW and LAX which aren't going anywhere? Will become a small focus city, at best.

Too close to call:

DCA/LGA/JFK/PHL - One of the NY hubs will absolutely remain for INTL connecting traffic, but at least one hub is going to close here.
I think you're starting from the perspective that the world's largest airline can't support 8 hubs. None HAVE to go. From your list, you're basically saying the pmUS hubs are unimportant, so I'll guess you don't travel the mid-atlantic or the northeast. It does, however, make more sense to concentrate LAX and NYC on O&D and INTL. That leaves a lot of room for PHX to serve regional traffic out west (and its own O&D, which is significant). As for DCA, no way that's too close to call - that's an important city to any airline and the only way it shrinks is if the new AA needs cash. PHL is already a fortress - even if you want to move its INTL traffic to NYC, there's still way too much O&D and connecting traffic to shift anywhere else.

If anything shrinks, it's rationalizing LGA/JFK - concentrate on O&D and INTL, and leave the domestic east to PHL/CLT. In addition, focus regional traffic at PHX and move INTL to LAX/DFW.

I see a lot of shifting of traffic, but I honestly don't think any of the current 8 gets de-hubbed. The way I see it, de-hubbing any of the current "at risk" hubs from your list requires shifting significant traffic to airports that can't support it. You can't shift PHL's hub ops anywhere else in the Northeast unless you want to rebuild BOS (and geographically, PHL is a better bet). PHX can't go to LAX for lack of space, and shifting it all to DFW makes for some long connections. DCA has a huge geographic advantage and a very captive market - shifting that anywhere else means losing your business to whoever takes over at DCA. I could see shrinking LGA or JFK to focus on INTL and O&D, but that other traffic has to go to PHL.
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Old Dec 10, 13, 2:03 pm
  #50  
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Originally Posted by dtremit View Post
One complication with DCA is that in addition to giving up slots, AA agreed not to use any of their "commuter" slots (which are for planes of <76 seats) for what DOT defines as large airports. Excluding airports in metro DC and beyond the DCA perimeter, those airports are:

ATL, ORD, DFW, JFK, CLT, IAH, MIA, MCO, EWR, MSP, DTW, PHL, BOS, LGA, FLL, MDW, TPA

What that means is that AA can't use anything smaller than a CR9 or E175 to fly from DCA to those cities. So ORD will definitely upsize to at least an E175; it has to.

On the US side, that seems to affect service to PHL (which is mostly CRJ or DH8 due to lack of real demand), DTW, and a single frequency to CLT will need to upgauge or be cut. For AA, it affects all their flights to JFK and a handful of ORD flights.
Was there a limitation on how many of the slots to be given up had to be commuter vs. "big city?" I'd think that the first dozen of the commuter slots divested would come out of the AA RDU and BNA and the US PHL frequencies.
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Old Dec 10, 13, 2:15 pm
  #51  
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Given that Southwest, with no widebody feed and no commuter feed, can operate hubs at PHX, LAS, DEN, HOU, MDW, BWI, and ATL, and significant focus cities at MCI, STL, BNA, and MCO... I have trouble believing that it is structurally impossible for AAUS to maintain six hubs (DFW, ORD, LAX, PHX, CLT, PHL) and two focus cities (NYC, DCA).
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Old Dec 10, 13, 2:22 pm
  #52  
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DCA and LGA are important domestic stations, maybe not hubs per se. Both stations attract a premium business flyer albeit for domestic travel. This is what has kept the Shuttle around as an almost hourly flight despite often lousy load factors.

JFK will be mostly an O&D International hub along with of course transcons while PHL will stay a connecting TATL hub. Although its hard to say whether in the long run how much PHL is downsized, if at all.

CLT will remain a strong domestic hub but could lose some flights to MIA. MIA will keep growing as will DFW and LAX. ORD won't lose hub status but probably won't see huge growth numbers.

PHX will be probably lose if LAX grows even more than already planned.
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Old Dec 10, 13, 2:24 pm
  #53  
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Originally Posted by DCdeacon View Post
Not sure where you're getting that MIA had 50% more traffic than CLT.
Originally Posted by dtremit View Post
50% more traffic by what metric? Just curious.
Fair questions. I used this page on Wikipedia, which reports Miami's 2012 "total passenger boardings" as 30,227,003 and Charlotte's as 20,032,426. By these numbers, MIA has about 50% more "total passenger boardings" than CLT. However, I just scrolled down and the two airports are much more in line when measured by "total passenger traffic". I haven't got time to dig into the source material (almost bedtime!) and figure out the difference in terminology or raw data, but the numbers are wildly different so there may be something fishy with these numbers... In any case, that's where I came up with it.
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Old Dec 10, 13, 3:03 pm
  #54  
 
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What about BOS? I would love to see new AA ramp back up at BOS to their levels of several years ago, taking back the share they have ceded to B6.
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Old Dec 10, 13, 3:07 pm
  #55  
 
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Originally Posted by ElmhurstNick View Post
Was there a limitation on how many of the slots to be given up had to be commuter vs. "big city?" I'd think that the first dozen of the commuter slots divested would come out of the AA RDU and BNA and the US PHL frequencies.
All the divested slots at DCA are mainline ("air carrier slots"), not commuter.

I think that means a lot of CR7/E170 to RDU and BNA.
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Old Dec 10, 13, 3:19 pm
  #56  
 
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Originally Posted by Microwave View Post
Fair questions. I used this page on Wikipedia, which reports Miami's 2012 "total passenger boardings" as 30,227,003 and Charlotte's as 20,032,426. By these numbers, MIA has about 50% more "total passenger boardings" than CLT. However, I just scrolled down and the two airports are much more in line when measured by "total passenger traffic". I haven't got time to dig into the source material (almost bedtime!) and figure out the difference in terminology or raw data, but the numbers are wildly different so there may be something fishy with these numbers... In any case, that's where I came up with it.
Actually, it looks like someone broke that Wikipedia page back in October. I think someone trying to edit the page rotated the columns and then tried to fix the ranking based on that. I may go fix it later.

In any case, the table refers to this document as a source, which puts 2012 MIA enplanements at 18,987,488.
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Old Dec 10, 13, 3:51 pm
  #57  
 
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Originally Posted by ElmhurstNick View Post
CLT has flights to Rome, Paris, Frankfurt, and London. Of those, I could see Frankfurt get dropped depending on how much feed was connecting to LHR, and a connection to Air Berlin (DUS? or TXL) or Iberia (MAD) start up.
CLT has way more than that.

It has LHR, FRA, CDG, MAD, FCO, BCN, BRU, LIS, MAN and DUB.

The first four are safe. The rest? Buh-bye.
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Old Dec 10, 13, 5:43 pm
  #58  
 
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Originally Posted by santarosaflyer View Post
The airports that I connect through are EWR, ORD, IAH, IAD, and CLT. CLT is a piece of cake in comparison. It is a bit of a hike between mainline to regional. I was at IAD last night, it takes forever to walk to the train to get to mainline. ORD still uses buses if you are going from Express to Terminal C, otherwise a much longer walk than CLT. And EWR forget it. CLT feels a lot less crazy.
This is for connections into/out of the southeast, and the options are typically ATL, CLT, DFW, and MIA. I can't speak to other regions.

But often people have to get late connections, and frequently it seems like they get stuck in CLT for the night due to misconnects too, so there's also that.

Originally Posted by PWMTrav View Post
I think you're starting from the perspective that the world's largest airline can't support 8 hubs. None HAVE to go.
None *HAVE* to go, but a couple likely will. Other mergers (e.g., DL/NW) ultimately ended with some hub closures, and good management will do that.

Remember this is a company, not a non-profit. They're not going to keep open hubs they don't need out of the goodness of their hearts.

Originally Posted by PWMTrav View Post
From your list, you're basically saying the pmUS hubs are unimportant, so I'll guess you don't travel the mid-atlantic or the northeast.
I most certainly did not. In fact, I pointed out CLT as being one of the most valuable and safe hubs. I suggest you re-read my post.
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Old Dec 10, 13, 6:00 pm
  #59  
 
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DL has set up parallel hubs at JFK (international) and LGA (domestic), so I don't see why AA couldn't also run a JFK international + PHL domestic.

Originally Posted by dtremit View Post
One complication with DCA is that in addition to giving up slots, AA agreed not to use any of their "commuter" slots (which are for planes of <76 seats) for what DOT defines as large airports...

What that means is that AA can't use anything smaller than a CR9 or E175 to fly from DCA to those cities. So ORD will definitely upsize to at least an E175; it has to.
An air carrier ("mainline") slot can be operated with a 70-seat plane, a commuter slot can only be operated with a <76-seat plane.

New AA will have:
246 total slots
172 "air carrier": mainline/RJ to any airport, including 6 beyond-perimeter
74 "commuter": RJs to small (min 56 slots) or medium (max 18) airports
(I wrote a bit more about this over at the DC forum.)

US has had a while to sort through their DCA operations to make each route profitable -- but at their current cost structure. Who knows what'll happen once costs rise post-merger.

Originally Posted by beofotch View Post
I am stocking up now on British Airways Avios for awesomely cheap flights from Charlotte once US Airways goes oneworld
Same for us DCA and PHL hub-captives! US East's short hops have very high CPM, so the ability to cap those ticket prices at 4500 Avios will be a boon to east-coast travelers.

Last edited by paytonc; Dec 10, 13 at 9:08 pm
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Old Dec 10, 13, 6:20 pm
  #60  
 
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No one seems to be considering the effect on weather at a lot of the hubs. This past week has proven how ineffective DFW and Chicago can be with weather. Winter snow and ice, and summer thunderstorms can cripple these airports and wreak havoc on travelers. As one who had cancellations to DFW and snow affected flight delays in ORD this past weekend, CLT has much less extreme weather that would affect connections.

I say that as a new CLT resident who finds the airport there to be a welcome respite from DFW and ORD.
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